Going green isn’t only an option for reducing our carbon footprint, but there are also options that will help your wallet by reducing utility bills and tightening up your home’s energy efficiency. Here are five green home improvements that you can do to help cut down on those energy costs.
1. Install A Programmable Thermostat
Traditional thermostats kick the furnace or A/C on once the temperature of the room reaches a certain point. This is an extremely inefficient system for a few reasons. One reason is that the thermostat is located in a single room, which is where it reads the ambient temperature and heats or cools accordingly.
This doesn’t necessarily account for the rest of the home however. Temperature fluctuations can occur, causing your furnace to kick on or off when you don’t want it to. There can be noticeable differences in temperature between rooms and separate floors of the house. This inefficiency causes those energy bills to add up quickly. A programmable thermostat offers a simple solution.
A programmable thermostat has adjustable settings for temperatures and time of the day, which allows for it to automatically adjust the temperature for you throughout the day. This means that you’re only getting heat or A/C when it’s needed. This option lets you take better control of your heating/cooling system and allows for customization. It’s an excellent green alternative to traditional thermostat systems.
2. Windows And Doors
Replacing those old rickety windows or the splintered front door is probably the simplest way to improve your home and your energy costs. Windows have come a long way as far as energy efficiency and aesthetics, as well as simplification of the installation process.
Many companies offer “green” window systems, which are much more effective at maintaining the energy efficiency of your home. Make no mistake, your windows are the single most important factor in how your home maintains its temperature. One drafty or inefficient window can throw your entire thermostat off.
Your front door is also a large factor. The door itself covers what is essentially a large hole in your front wall, so it’s important that this gap is covered by a door with structural integrity and plenty of insulating properties. If your door is drafty, is falling apart, or has mold and moisture within the glass panes, it’s time to replace it.
3. Tankless Water Heaters
A tankless water heater delivers water in a different way than traditional, tank-fed systems. The tankless water heater provides water in bursts of two to five gallons, instead of a continuous flow of water. This makes the heating of the water more efficient by only delivering the amount of water you need for the task at hand. Additionally, getting rid of your old water tank can grant you some storage space in your basement or storage closet.
Many tankless water heaters require you to rewire an electrical system or re-route a gas system, which you’ll most likely have to pay a company or contractor to do. Tampering with gas and electric lines is always risky, and best left to professionals.
4. A Drain Water Heat Recovery System
This amazing technology lets you literally recycle the heat from the water you’ve sent down the drain, and use it to preheat the cold water in your house for that next load of laundry or your next shower.
The warm water runs down the drain, and incoming cold water flows through a specially designed copper coil that wraps around the pipe itself, trapping the heat from your wastewater and heating the cold water before it’s sent through the showerhead or faucet.
This is an incredibly simple but effective way to recycle heat nearly endlessly. This option has the power to dramatically cut your energy costs since a large majority of heating in homes is used for heating water. Your shower water, dishwater, etc, become more than just hot water flowing down the waste drain.
What’s more green than planting trees around your home? Not only do trees serve to improve the air quality surrounding your property, but they also provide shade in summer, and a nice windbreak during those winter months. If your home is exposed to the sun during those blistering summer days, it’s going to warm up very quickly and cause your cooling system to work overtime to try and keep up.
Some tall trees with extensive foliage can block a lot of that sunlight, and since it tends to be much cooler in the shade, your cooling system won’t have to work as hard to keep up. Think of it as trading green for green. Plant some green trees, save some cash.
Trees are also aesthetically pleasing. They’ll flower in the springtime, and those dead leaves you rake up in the fall can be recycled as compost for your garden. This is easily the best way to help the environment, your wallet, and simultaneously boost the curb appeal of your home.
Going green is a great way to do your part in the preservation of our planet’s resources. We often tend to forget that our energy sources are finite and won’t last forever. By being conscious of energy bills and how they affect the world around us, we’ll gain a better understanding of our individual impact on the planet. And of course, by cutting those energy bills down, you’ll have some extra money for that next vacation or large purchase.